“The duty of singing praises to God, seems to be appointed wholly to excite and express religious affections. No other reason can be assigned, why we should express ourselves to God in verse, rather than in prose, and do it with music, but only, that such is our nature and frame, that these things have a tendency to move our affections.” – Religious Affections

 

Some things I notice from this short excerpt from Religious Affections:

  1. Edwards saw singing as a duty of the Christian, so he took the Biblical commands to worship through singing seriously.
  2. He saw that singing “moved our affections” more than other forms. An honest and excellent observation.
  3. And most importantly he saw no fault with this. He knew many were carried to ungodly emotional excesses thoughout the Great Awakening that came upon New England in his time, but this did not dissuade him from believing that true Religious Affections (or godly emotions) accompany conversion and subsequent growing in Christ, and that singing is a God-appointed outlet for these emotions.

I was also interested to find out that Edwards “urged all Christian parents to give their children singing lessons and proudly notes that his own congregation, especially during its time of Awakening, sang loudly and heartily, and in three part harmony.” pg. 242 The Legacy of Jonathan Edwards– John Piper & Justin Taylor

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